Irish actor Robert Sheehan tells Tara Brady why he’s a Misfit in more ways than one,
ROBERT Sheehan stretches out on the couch in his new red trousers. His decadent choice of apparel makes him look even more impish than usual. At 23 he’s no longer a teenager, but that tousle of curls and his penchant for on-screen rebels ensures a lingering aura of adolescence. If he looks like something from a Germaine Greer coffee-table book, there is, he suspects, a reason.
“I was the small fella for a while,” he says with a characteristically flamboyant wave. “I played football for Portlaoise until I was 14 or 15. And then, suddenly, everybody shot up and I was too short for the team. I caught up about a year later. By sixth year I was hitting five-eleven or six feet. But just at that pivotal moment in puberty, I fell behind. It was an awful hindrance with the girls.” He grins from his repose: “Not that I can complain.”
These days the Offaly-born actor can’t walk down a street without being accosted by eager females. It’s a Misfits thing, he says. His turn as Nathan Young – a cocksure Robin Goodfellow with an Asbo and superpowers – was the star attraction of the Bafta-winning E4 show.
“It must be big here,” he says, “because a lot of people seem to come up on the street about it in Dublin. In London I usually get ‘You’re that guy from Skins, innit?’”
Robert Michael Sheehan swears he doesn’t know how he got here. His upbringing in Co Laois, though “lovely”, was anything but show business. “My dad is a retired guard and my mum was the registrar for births and deaths for the Midland Health Board. My lovely sister is doing her Master’s in finance and accounting. My brother owns two companies. I make no sense at all.”
He has no formal training. Indeed, before landing his first film role in 2004’s Song for a Raggy Boy, his only acting credit was as the lead in a school production of Oliver.
“It was called Oliver with a Twist, actually,” he recalls. “My teacher was a great one for the puns. I was so enthusiastic about it that my parents brought me to the Raggy Boy auditions a couple of years later. And